On Thursday, President Joe Biden marked the three-year anniversary of George Floyd's death by calling for police reform legislation.
On May 25, 2020, a White police officer kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man and father of one, for over nine minutes. Floyd repeatedly told the officer, Derek Chauvin, "I can't breathe." His murder sparked an unparalleled wave of police brutality protests across the country.
“George Floyd’s murder exposed for many what Black and Brown communities have long known and experienced — that we must make a whole of society commitment to ensure that our Nation lives up to its founding promise of fair and impartial justice for all under the law,” Biden said in a statement.
Chauvin was convicted of murder, and three other officers involved in the encounter were all sentenced to time in prison for aiding and abetting manslaughter. While celebrated at the time, many activists believe that the policing system that produced Chauvin also needs to be held accountable.
Congress has since attempted to pass the George Floyd Justice in Police Act, which would ban chokeholds, carotid holds, and no-knock warrants nationally. It would also end qualified immunity for police officers and prohibit racial profiling at every level of law enforcement. The legislation passed the House of Representatives in 2021, but failed in the Senate.
"We know that implementing real and lasting change at the state and local levels requires Congress to act,” Biden continued. “I urge Congress to enact meaningful police reform and send it to my desk. I will sign it. I will continue to do everything in my power to fight for police accountability in Congress, and I remain willing to work with Republicans and Democrats alike on genuine solutions."
The President added: “Equal justice is a covenant we each have with one another. Today, three years after George Floyd’s murder, let us build on the progress we have made thus far and recommit to the work we must continue to do every day to change hearts and minds as well as laws and policies.”